SULJOVIC STUNS VAN GERWEN ON OPENING DAY IN MINEHEAD

Mensur Suljovic caused a huge upset with victory over Michael van Gerwen on the opening night of the 2024 Ladbrokes UK Open, as three former champions crashed out on a dramatic evening in Minehead.

Day One of the £600,000 event at Butlin’s Minehead Resort saw 126 matches played across eight stages on an action-packed day at the annual festival of darts.

The opening four rounds were held across two sessions, as the 158-player field was whittled down to 32 by the conclusion of Friday’s action.

The biggest story of the day saw world number 56 Suljovic roll back the years to stun Van Gerwen, winning eight of the last ten legs to inflict a 10-7 defeat on the Dutch superstar, who appeared to be struggling with a shoulder injury.

“Michael van Gerwen is the best player in the world at the moment,” insisted the Austrian veteran.

“This is a brilliant feeling for me. I had some family problems last year, but this year I am practising every day, and I hope I can have a good tournament.”

Gerwyn Price – a runner-up in 2017 and 2020 – was another high-profile casualty on Friday evening, squandering six match darts in a dramatic decider against Martin Schindler.

Teenage sensation Luke Littler avoided the same fate however, averaging 101 and producing finishes of 101, 109, 120 and 170 to secure a 10-7 win against three-time champion James Wade.

“I’m just glad to get over the line in the end,” reflected Littler, who was a Rileys Amateur Qualifier at this event 12 months ago.

“This tournament is where it all began for myself. I’m loving this experience. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of, and I’m just taking it in my stride.”

World Champion Luke Humphries opened his bid for a fourth consecutive TV ranking title with an eye-catching win over Dirk van Duijvenbode, defying ten maximums from the Dutch star to prevail with a 101 average.

Reigning champion Andrew Gilding also enjoyed his Minehead return, kicking off his defence of the title with a battling 10-7 victory against Josh Payne, crashing in six 180s in the process.

Gilding was one of five UK Open winners to progress to round five, with Nathan Aspinall, Danny Noppert, Peter Wright and Gary Anderson all celebrating victory in round four.

Aspinall sank former Lakeside champion Scott Mitchell in his opener, while Noppert won six of the last seven legs to complete a comeback win over German number one Gabriel Clemens.

Wright brushed aside Joshua Richardson 10-3 to open his title challenge, before 2018 champion Anderson reeled off six straight legs to win through an all-Scottish showdown against Cameron Menzies.

Premier League duo Michael Smith and Rob Cross also tasted victory on Friday evening, with Masters champion Stephen Bunting joining the pair in the winner’s circle.

Ross Smith recorded a 10-8 victory against Daryl Gurney in a high-quality encounter, before Damon Heta defeated his World Cup partner Simon Whitlock by the same scoreline.

Former Masters winner Chris Dobey averaged 99 in his 10-3 demolition of Mickey Mansell, while last year’s semi-finalist Dimitri Van den Bergh denied Brendan Dolan in a marathon contest.

Jonny Clayton survived a major scare to outlast German debutant Tim Wolters in his fourth round tie, as Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski and Northern Ireland’s Josh Rock breezed through in routine fashion.

Earlier in the night, two-time winner Raymond van Barneveld and Ryan Searle suffered deciding-leg heartbreak, losing out to Luke Woodhouse and Graham Usher in their respective fourth round ties.

Denmark’s World Cup star Benjamin Reus is the only player who entered in round one left standing ahead of Saturday’s play, while former semi-finalists Dave Chisnall, Mervyn King and Keane Barry also progressed.

World Youth Championship runner-up Gian van Veen booked his place in the last 32 with a brace of wins across the day, to move through alongside his compatriots Vincent van der Voort and Kevin Doets.

Mike De Decker, Ricky Evans, Martin Lukeman and Ryan Meikle also registered back-to-back wins on Friday, as the quartet continued their bids for a maiden televised title in Minehead.

The draw for the fifth round was made live on the Main Stage at the conclusion of Friday night’s action, with reigning champion Gilding pitted against 2017 winner Wright for a place in the last 16.

World Champion Humphries will play Reus in an intriguing clash, while Schindler’s reward for beating Price is a fifth round showdown against Littler.

Anderson and Dobey will go head-to-head in a blockbuster tie, as Van Gerwen’s conqueror Suljovic locks horns with Chisnall.

At the conclusion of the fifth round, the draw will be made for the sixth round, which will take place across two stages on Saturday evening.

Main Stage matches across the event will be broadcast live on ITV3 or ITV4 for UK viewers, through the PDC’s international broadcast partners, including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

Stage Two action on Saturday will be streamed exclusively for all PDCTV Subscribers worldwide, with commentary from Dan Dawson and Paul Nicholson, while matches from Stages Three and Four will also be broadcast live on PDCTV on Saturday.

2024 Ladbrokes UK Open

First Round

Haupai Puha 6-4 Jelle Klaasen

Jenson Walker 6-4 Sebastian Bialecki

Wesley Plaisier 6-5 Connor Scutt

Ron Meulenkamp 6-1 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez

Thibault Tricole 6-5 Jules van Dongen

Danny Lauby 6-3 Nathan Rafferty

Patrick Geeraets 6-3 Christian Kist

Scott Mitchell 6-4 Leighton Bennett

Matthew Dennant 6-4 Jeffrey de Graaf

Leonard Gates 6-4 Conan Whitehead

Dom Taylor 6-5 Brandon Western

Tom Lonsdale 6-4 Lukas Wenig

John Henderson 6-4 Kevin Burness

Owen Bates 6-5 Andy Boulton

Jack Male 6-5 Martijn Dragt

Tim Wolters 6-3 Ashley Coleman

Brett Claydon 6-4 Thomas Lovely

Benjamin Reus 6-4 Bradly Roes

Johnny Haines 6-3 Jitse van der Wal

Bradley Brooks 6-3 Cam Crabtree

Michael Taylor 6-5 Paul Krohne

Chris Landman 6-3 Christopher Toonders

George Killington 6-4 Radek Szaganski

Joshua Richardson 6-5 Darryl Pilgrim

Joe Croft 6-5 William Borland

Darren Beveridge 6-4 Jason Hogg

Harry Lane 6-3 Dominik Gruellich

Rhys Griffin 6-5 Harry Gregory

Robert Grundy 6-3 Michele Turreta

Wessel Nijman 6-3 David Sumner

Second Round

Christian Perez 6-2 Jeffrey Sparidaans

Jacques Labre 6-4 Steve Lennon

Jeffrey de Zwaan 6-4 Jurjen van der Velde

Thibault Tricole 6-5 Bradley Brooks

Geert Nentjes 6-3 Pascal Rupprecht

Robert Owen 6-3 Karel Sedlacek

Brett Claydon 6-4 Andy Baetens

Leonard Gates 6-3 Rhys Griffin

Owen Roelofs 6-1 Stephen Burton

Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-3 Johnny Haines

Josh Payne 6-5 Ron Meulenkamp

Benjamin Reus 6-3 Tom Lonsdale

Ronny Huybrechts 6-2 Harry Lane

Wessel Nijman 6-4 Niels Zonneveld

Scott Mitchell 6-4 Darren Beveridge

Nick Kenny 6-2 Callum Goffin

Joe Croft 6-2 James Hurrell

Lee Evans 6-0 Chris Landman

John Henderson 6-5 Dom Taylor

Patrick Geeraets 6-4 Adam Smith-Neale

George Killington 6-5 Robbie Knops

Joshua Richardson 6-2 Keegan Brown

Danny Lauby 6-5 Jack Male

Maik Kuivenhoven 6-2 Berry van Peer

Matthew Dennant 6-1 Danny van Trijp

Jarred Cole 6-5 Robert Grundy

Wesley Plaisier 6-2 Haupai Puha

Dylan Slevin 6-4 Arron Monk

Michael Taylor 6-2 Graham Hall

Graham Usher 6-5 Owen Bates

Tim Wolters 6-3 Jenson Walker

Third Round

Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-4 Madars Razma

Josh Payne 6-5 Steve Beaton

Leonard Gates 6-2 Jim Williams

Martin Lukeman 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena

Simon Whitlock 6-5 Maik Kuivenhoven

Gian van Veen 6-3 John Henderson

Cameron Menzies 6-3 Thibault Tricole

Boris Krcmar 6-1 Ritchie Edhouse

Nick Kenny 6-5 Matt Campbell

Brett Claydon 6-4 Alan Soutar

Ricky Evans 6-3 Lee Evans

Graham Usher 6-3 Ronny Huybrechts

Mickey Mansell 6-4 Ian White

Ryan Meikle 6-3 Geert Nentjes

Florian Hempel 6-2 Mario Vandenbogaerde

Patrick Geeraets 6-1 Jeffrey de Zwaan

Mensur Suljovic 6-0 William O’Connor

Kevin Doets 6-5 Robert Owen

Mike De Decker 6-3 Wessel Nijman

Daniel Klose 6-3 Wesley Plaisier

Luke Woodhouse 6-4 Dylan Slevin

Keane Barry 6-4 Joe Croft

Adam Gawlas 6-0 Jarred Cole

Tim Wolters 6-4 Ryan Joyce

Vincent van der Voort 6-4 Christian Perez

Mervyn King 6-4 George Killington

Benjamin Reus 6-5 Callan Rydz

Ricardo Pietreczko 6-3 Michael Taylor

Richard Veenstra 6-1 Owen Roelofs

Joshua Richardson 6-5 Jamie Hughes

Danny Lauby 6-2 Jacques Labre

Scott Mitchell 6-5 Matthew Dennant

Evening Session

Fourth Round

Andrew Gilding 10-7 Josh Payne

Mensur Suljovic 10-7 Michael van Gerwen

Luke Littler 10-7 James Wade

Luke Humphries 10-7 Dirk van Duijvenbode

Danny Noppert 10-8 Gabriel Clemens

Michael Smith 10-7 Joe Cullen

Damon Heta 10-8 Simon Whitlock

Martin Schindler 10-9 Gerwyn Price

Graham Usher 10-9 Ryan Searle

Kevin Doets 10-6 Daniel Klose

Ross Smith 10-8 Daryl Gurney

Nathan Aspinall 10-6 Scott Mitchell

Ryan Meikle 10-6 Brett Claydon

Benjamin Reus 10-7 Jose de Sousa

Chris Dobey 10-3 Mickey Mansell

Stephen Bunting 10-3 Danny Lauby

Ricky Evans 10-4 Scott Williams

Keane Barry 10-6 Kim Huybrechts

Rob Cross 10-3 Rowby-John Rodriguez

Gary Anderson 10-5 Cameron Menzies

Luke Woodhouse 10-9 Raymond van Barneveld

Jonny Clayton 10-9 Tim Wolters

Martin Lukeman 10-5 Leonard Gates

Dimitri Van den Bergh 10-8 Brendan Dolan

Gian van Veen 10-7 Florian Hempel

Mike De Decker 10-6 Richard Veenstra

Dave Chisnall 10-4 Nick Kenny

Krzysztof Ratajski 10-4 Adam Gawlas

Peter Wright 10-3 Joshua Richardson

Josh Rock 10-5 Patrick Geeraets

Mervyn King 10-3 Ricardo Pietreczko

Vincent van der Voort 10-5 Boris Krcmar

Fifth Round Schedule

Saturday March 2 (1245 GMT)

Main Stage

Gary Anderson v Chris Dobey

Luke Littler v Martin Schindler

Damon Heta v Nathan Aspinall

Benjamin Reus v Luke Humphries

Stage Two

Jonny Clayton v Ross Smith

Rob Cross v Josh Rock

Stephen Bunting v Kevin Doets

Peter Wright v Andrew Gilding

Stage Three

Ricky Evans v Mike De Decker

Michael Smith v Luke Woodhouse

Dave Chisnall v Mensur Suljovic

Vincent van der Voort v Dimitri Van den Bergh

Stage Four

Graham Usher v Gian van Veen

Martin Lukeman v Danny Noppert

Keane Barry v Ryan Meikle

Krzysztof Ratajski v Mervyn King

Photos credit Kieran Cleeves/PDC

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